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Judge backs pig owner in battle over invasive species order

Posted 10:12 a.m. Wednesday

— State officials say they're reviewing their options after a local judge sided with an Upper Peninsula farmer in a lawsuit over whether he is raising exotic pigs that are illegal in Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources designated Russian boar and related hybrids as invasive species in 2010, saying they were escaping from farms and ranches and causing environmental damage.

A state appeals court previously upheld the DNR order in response to lawsuits from owners of the hogs. But Circuit Judge Charles Goodman ruled against the agency last week in its effort to enforce the rule against Roger Turunen, who raises pigs in Baraga County.

The DNR said eight of Turunen's animals were of the prohibited species. Goodman said the agency didn't produce enough scientific evidence to prove that.

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